Pastoral Care Specialist

Pastoral Care Specialist Program



Contact Person: Rev. Sharon L. Mook, Ph.D., D. Min.
                         Fellow, American Association of Pastoral Counselors

    Download Application Here


The Pastoral Care Specialist Program is a certificate program designed for pastors, students, and lay pastoral care providers who are, or will be, responsible for meeting the pastoral care needs in congregations and other institutions. Objectives of this program include strengthening personal and professional identity, spirituality, and emotional maturity of caregivers; and enabling them to provide care that integrates: spirituality, resources from the faith tradition of the person receiving care as well as from one’s own faith tradition, current theological and theoretical understandings, and practical skills. Successful completion of this program provides the training necessary for admission to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors as a Pastoral Care Specialist, a general membership category for people who have received specialized training in the area of pastoral care and brief, supportive pastoral counseling.


Program Components:

The program consists of 60 hours of training. Each session includes three components:

  •  Didactic Seminars: through presentations and discussion, participants have opportunities to learn important theoretical foundations and practical skills for pastoral care and supportive counseling in a variety of contextual and cultural settings
  • Clinical Consultation: in a group context, participants have opportunities to share and reflect upon care and counseling experiences, learning from the both the clinical consultant and from their peers
  •  Peer Support Group: in a confidential setting, personal growth is encouraged and supported through sharing and reflection on the issues and challenges encountered by each participant in her or his personal journey


Didactic Seminar Topics*:

  • Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling: An Introduction
  • Professional and Pastoral Identity and Dealing with Power Dynamics
  • Basic Care and Counseling Skills, including Confidentiality and Professional Boundaries
  • Integrating Spiritual Dimensions of Care and Counseling
  • Pastoral Care of Faith Communities and Faith Communities as Care Providers
  • The Role of Pastoral Counseling
  • Supportive Counseling for Individuals, Couples, and Families
  • A Systems Approach to Working with Individuals, Couples, and Families
  • Human Development and Family Development as the Contexts for Pastoral Care
  • Dynamics of Grief and Loss in Individual and Family Life Transitions and Traumas
  • Care of Emotionally, Socially, and Mentally Challenged Individuals and their Families (including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depression, and Suicide)
  • Pastoral Care of the Aging and of Care Providers
  • Abuse, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, other situations requiring Crisis Intervention
  • Substance Abuse and Addictions: Understanding and Treatment Intervention
  • Referral Counseling and Diagnosis
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  • Dealing with Congregational Systems and with Family Systems, while Avoiding Burnout

                        *Other topics tailored to specific needs and interest of the group may be included


Program Site, Schedule, and Application:

The 2016-17 program will be offered at the main office in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the second Tuesday of each month (September – June), beginning September 13.  This ten month program, running from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day, provides 60 hours of training.


Registrations are now being accepted.  Applications may be downloaded from this website and should be sent to the Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeastern Michigan, 29887 West Eleven Mile Road Farmington Hills, MI 48336.


Tuition and Fees:

Registration fee:  $75 (to be included with application)

Tuition:  $1,500

Enrollment Deadline:  August 31, 2016